Bill to End homelessness in America Introduced in Congress

National Coalition for the Homeless

            Just because recessing for the Thanksgiving holiday, Congresswoman Julia Carson (D-IN) and nine co-sponsors introduced the Bringing America Home Act, an ambitious measure that would end homelessness in the United States.

             The Bringing America Home Act, H.R. 4347, is the most comprehensive initiative to date to address modern homelessness. The legislation is based on research, data, and the direct experience of persons experiencing homelessness, front line service providers, and state and local officials.  The bill includes housing, health, income civil rights components, such as an affordable housing production program, expansion of job training opportunities, civil rights protections for persons without housing, emergency funds for families facing eviction, increased access to health care for all, and Congressional support for living incomes.

             “The aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have brought to the forefront of the American people the socioeconomic problems that have actually existed for decades among millions of our neighbors.  The needs of families and individuals displaced by the hurricanes are no different than those who were without resources long-before the storms, “ said Michael Stoops, Acting Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.

             “Congress should act quickly be extend to all Americans, including the millions of our neighbors experiencing homelessness each year, guarantees to affordable housing, comprehensive health insurance, jobs that pay a living a wage, and protection of their basic civil rights regardless of where they live.” Said Stoops.  In the United States, 3.5 million people – almost 40 percent of them children – experience homelessness each year.  Many homeless adults work, but due to high rents, right rental markets, low-paying jobs, and lack of affordable health care, they find themselves and their families living on the streets, in cars, in shelters, n abandoned buildings, in motels or in over-crowded, temporary accommodations with others.  More Americans than ever are one paycheck, one illness, or one rent hike away from homelessness.

             According to Congresswoman Julia Carson, “This bill will create affordable housing units in mixed income locations, greatly expand supportive housing, provide emergency support services for those in need, increase the equality of health care, and create job training programs for our poorest families, whose security is at the center of this legislation.  Most importantly, the bill gives poor Americans the opportunity to be self-sufficient.”

             “The Bringing American Home Act would end the disgrace of the worst form of poverty in the richest nation in the world.  It’s time for our elected officials to pledge this Holiday Season to help our most vulnerable neighbors with transformational changes in public policy.  It’s time to Bring American Home,” said Stoops.  Timed to the bill’s introduction, NCH re-launched the web site of its Bringing American Home Campaign,

www.bringingamericahome.org, where information about the Bringing America Home Act may be found.

             The National Coalition for the Homeless is the oldest and largest national organization dedicate to the mission of ending homelessness.

 Copyright NEOCH Homeless Grapevine December 2005 Issue 74